Conman held in US may be extradited
9:00am Tuesday 15th October 2013 in News
FRAUDSTER Christopher Baines is finally in handcuffs after evading police capture for almost two years since vanishing from the UK in January 2012.
And now the serial conman could be extradited back to Britain to face his conviction after he was found guilty of 30 counts of fraud.
Baines was arrested at a hotel in San Antonio, Texas on Friday night following the execution of an arrest warrant by the sheriff’s office in Madison, Georgia.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation have been assisting with an investigation into the activities of Baines, who has been acting under the alias of Chris Bartholomew while in the USA.
Wiltshire Police have recently enlisted the help of the FBI in locating Baines while drawing up an international arrest warrant to return the conman securely back to the UK to serve his jail time.
Last month the Adver reported how Baines had absconded to America ahead of his trial at Swindon Crown Court last summer, where he was sentenced to five years in prison after fleecing scores of customers at the former Mr Woodz furniture store in the Brunel Centre.
Baines had lied to escape court, claiming he had been in a car accident in Cancun, Mexico.
Since that time he has been cheating thousands of dollars out of unsuspecting girlfriends, customers and business partners, until he was eventually tracked down to Texas.
Acting on information provided by a member of the public, police authorities in Georgia were able to locate and arrest Baines.
But the authorities are concerned he may prove elusive again, and are appealing for UK police to come to collect him from his cell in San Antonio.
One of Baines’ recent victims, who does not wish to be identified, said: “He is currently sitting in a jail cell in San Antonio.
“He is waiting to go back to Madison County, where he will answer his charges.
“He is scum and I want to make sure he does not get back out on to the streets. What he does is so wrong because he gets to know you intimately and personally, all the time with a smile.
“He has threatened my life and he needs to come off the streets.”
Carl Jones, assistant chief of police at Madison Police Department, said: “Mr Bartholomew, as he is known, is currently under arrest in San Antonio, Texas.
“We took out a warrant for an instance of credit card fraud for the amount of $2,000. The warrant was passed to Robert Markley at the sheriff’s office, who was able to locate him in Texas.
“They are going to attempt to bring him back to Madison, Georgia before extradition, and then he will be sent up for trial.
“We hope the UK authorities may be able to pick him up from Texas for extradition before he is released on bail.
“At some point in time we may have to release our hold on him, so if UK police could pick him up that would be for the best.”